Time for Bed, Old House, by Janet Costa Bates/Illustrated by AG Ford, (Sept. 2021, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536209983
Isaac is looking forward to his sleepover at Grandpa’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home. After and evening of games and snacks, Grandpa and his dog, Snuffles, teach Isaac how to put the house to bed. As they go through each room, turning off lights and pulling down shades, Isaac is initially frightened by the sounds the old house makes, but Grandpa wonderfully observes that “this old house makes sleepy sounds, just like you… you yawn. You stretch. I bet you even snore”. As they end up in Isaac’s room and settle down for the night, Isaac is content, saying good night to the house, and looking forward to the next day.
This is a wonderful and cozy story about a grandparent and grandchild. Janet Costa Bates’s quiet storytelling wraps readers up like a blanket, tucking them in with her words. AG Ford’s watercolors envelop readers in the welcoming setting, with warm golds leading Isaac and Grandpa through the house as they help ready it for the night, and cooler blues and purples to provide the cover of darkness. When Isaac goes to bed holding Bear, a smile on his face, readers won’t be able to help but smile themselves, having heard a wonderful story. Front endpapers show Snuffles heading toward Grandpa and Isaac, most likely; back endpapers show him sleeping in his dog bed. The opening spread begins the story as we see Grandpa and Isaac on Grandpa’s porch, waving goodbye to a car pulling away, presumably Isaac’s parents, with his mom waving out the window. Isaac and his family are people of color. A perfect bedtime story, grandparent story, and first sleepover story for all collections.
Time for Bed, Old House has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus and has also been named a Book of Distinction by the Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books.